COVID: not out of the woods

A message from Colin Davidson, College President.

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As I write this message, it’s hard to believe that we are now six months into the changes COVID-19 has brought. This has been a challenging time for many, but it’s been great to see how many optometry practices are getting back to seeing patients. PPE and new hygiene methods have now all been adopted in routine practice, and patients can feel confident they will be seen in a safe environment.

New models of patient care are being discussed and optometry is ideally placed to take on greater patient care in the community. Our practices are well equipped and many contain state-of-the-art OCT and wide-field imaging.

Some practitioners may be considering further investment and our article on slit lamp selection offers a valuable insight into what to look out for in an instrument, with some useful tips on the differences between slit lamps from Andy Yorke FCOptom and Jason Higginbotham MCOptom. As we enter an era where potentially we will be sharing more digital information with colleagues, there are some interesting observations on digital slit lamps.

The adaptability shown by optometry practices stand us in good stead to react quickly

Our feature on ocular trauma takes a look at the kind of cases that present to A&E departments. In this article, Cindy Tromans FCOptom reiterates the importance of the use of a slit lamp when dealing with these challenging cases. And challenging is the word to use when you read about the type of accidents that are being seen. It is also very encouraging to see that the role of an optometrist is recognised and valued in a busy A&E clinic.

Finally, Parul Desai gives a fascinating account of her work as chair of the CCEHC, and the importance of the work it does. There is much discussion regarding new pathways and new models of patient care. The CCEHC is involved in the work of the national outpatient transformation programme. Parul discusses how her role as a consultant in both ophthalmology and public health helps her consider how these new pathways impact directly on patients. 

I am sure you are all aware that we aren’t out of the woods yet as far as COVID-19 is concerned, but the lessons we have learned over the last six months and the adaptability shown by optometry practices stand us in good stead to react quickly to any sudden changes in direction that may occur over the winter period. As always, I welcome any comments from our members and I am always pleased to hear from you.

Colin Davidson FCOptom, President


Colin Davidson BSc (Hons) FCOptom DipTp(IP)

Colin currently works part-time for the University of Hertfordshire where he is programme lead for independent prescribing. He also works in independent practice in East Sussex, and at Sussex Eye Hospital in Brighton where he works in both A&E and uveitis clinics. He is a senior assessor for the College and an OSCE chief examiner. He is a former member of East Sussex LOC and a current member of the education faculty at the Johnson and Johnson Institute.

Colin was awarded a Diploma in Independent Prescribing Dip TP(IP) in 2011, and Fellowship of the College in 2013.